Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Students rally as Iran protests enter third week

Students rallied at universities across Iran on Saturday and strikes were reported throughout the country’s Kurdish region, as demonstrations ignited by the death of a woman in police custody entered their third week.
The protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan, have spiralled into the biggest show of opposition to Iran’s clerical authorities since 2019, with dozens of people killed in unrest across the country.
Social media posts showed rallies at numerous universities on Saturday, including in the capital Tehran, with some students demanding the release of students detained in previous protests.
The widely-followed Tavsir1500 Twitter account said dozens of Tehran University students were detained during Saturday’s demonstration. The semi-official Fars news agency said some protesters were arrested in a square near Tehran university.
Tavsir1500 also posted what it said was a video taken at the gates of Isfahan University during which shots could be heard. Reuters could not verify the social media reports.
A government website had earlier reported that most detained students had been released, citing an education ministry spokesperson.
Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 in Tehran for “unsuitable attire” by the morality police who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.
The protests which first erupted at her funeral on Sept. 17 have spread to Iran’s 31 provinces, with all layers of society, including ethnic and religious minorities, taking part and many calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s downfall.
Amnesty International has said a government crackdown on demonstrations has so far led to the death of at least 52 people, with hundreds injured. Rights groups say dozens of activists, students and artists have been detained.
The authorities say many members of the security forces have been killed, accusing the United States of exploiting the unrest to try to destabilise the country. State media have branded protesters as rioters and seditionists.

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